Gambling Commission appoints Andrew Rhodes as Interim CEO

The UK Gambling Commission has announced the appointment of Andrew Rhodes as its new Interim Chief Executive.

This comes after former chief executive Neil McArthur stepped down from his CEO position in March of this year.

Commission appoints Rhodes as interim CEO

According to the UK regulator’s announcement, Rhodes will now take over from Sarah Gardner and COO Sally Jones who were the Commission’s acting CEOs after Neil McArthur left the organisation. Both Gardner and Jones shared the role of Acting Chief Executive.

McArthur stepped down from his role in March following regulatory failings surrounding the high profile collapse of the football trading platform Football Index.

In an update to stakeholders, the Commission confirmed that Rhodes has been contracted to serve as CEO for an 18-month period.

Prior to joining the Commission, Rhodes worked at Swansea University where he served as the Chief Registrar and Operating Officer. Before joining the University, Rhodes held senior roles at several organisations such as the Department for Work and Pensions, Food Standards Agency, and the DVLA.

The Gamling Commission noted that Rhodes has 20 years of experience across the public and prove sectors.

Rhodes will now join the regulator during a period where it is undergoing a critical evaluation of its ability to oversee the UK gambling industry. The Commission’s role within the UK’s gambling market is also being scrutinized as part of the government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Speaking on his appointment, Rhodes said: “The Gambling Commission is one of the world’s highest profile and most respected regulators so I am delighted to join the team at such an important time. Protecting the public and players from gambling harm will continue to be central to our work and I am looking forward to meeting people from across the industry and those with lived experience to understand the issues and opportunities which lay ahead.

“This is a great time to have the opportunity to work in gambling regulation. The Government’s Gambling Act Review represents a fantastic opportunity to deliver real and sustained improvements in the way gambling is provided and regulated. As the regulator we have a unique and important role to play at the forefront of that change.”

Bill Moyes, Chairman of the Commission, added: “Andrew has a first-class track record of delivery, strong leadership and innovation both in the private sector and in the civil service.

“I have no doubt he will prove to be an exceptional appointment here at the Commission and it comes at a time when the spotlight is on gambling regulation and operators. I am looking forward to working closely with Andrew as I prepare to hand over to a new chair in September.”

The appointment also comes after the Commission published a new corporate strategy to help it govern the sector.

The Commission’s new strategy

In March, the UK regulator published its three-year corporate strategy for 2021-24, which will be delivered across five priority areas. 

These include the protection of children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling, creating a fairer market and more informed consumers, keeping crime out of gambling, optimising returns to good causes from the National Lottery, and improving industry regulation.

To help achieve this, the regulator has called for collaboration between private and public health stakeholders to adopt a single customer viewpoint

The new strategy shares some similarities with its previous three year strategy for the period between 2018-21.

In its previous strategy, the priorities were protecting the interest of consumers, preventing harm to the public, raising standards in the industry, improving the way the body regulates the market, and optimising charitable returns from lotteries.